15 Responses to Markets and Morality: Ron Paul and Wilhelm Ropke

  1. American Knight says:

    I haven’t read this post yet – I will. I just want to thank you for pointing it out. Paul’s End the Fed, is a good intro – there are many other books that go into far more detail.

    The simple fact is that most of our political and societal ills are derived from this evil institution. It is immoral. If we are to truly be a moral people, and I know that is our only chance, we have to kill this beast. This November 22 marks the 100th anniversary of the construction of this monster from Jekyll Island. It is long past time to end the Fed.

  2. Art Deco says:

    The simple fact is that most of our political and societal ills are derived from this evil institution.


  3. j. christian says:


    You should read this article, “Why I Am Not an Austrian Economist” by Bryan Caplan (someone who admits some sympathy to their ideas):

    There’s a good discussion of how the Austrians get the business cycle wrong, but I think it’s even more interesting to read how they misunderstand the foundations of neoclassical economics and utility. I think you can be “conservative” in your economics bent without resorting to the Austrian errors. This stuff about the evils of the Fed is just bizarre.

  4. Blackadder says:

    I think Joe is using “Austrian Economics” in a broader sense than Prof. Caplan in his critique. Joe, for example, describes Ropke as an Austrian economist, whereas I don’t think he fits the Mises/Rothbard mold.

  5. Blackadder says:

    Also, while Prof. Caplan has indicated he thinks some of the Austrian critiques of the Fed are overblown, I don’t think he’s actually in favor of the institution (though I may be wrong about that).

  6. Blackadder says:

    The prior two comments, however, shouldn’t be taken as a criticism of Prof. Caplan’s article, which is excellent.

  7. j. christian says:


    Do you have any references to Caplan’s critique of the Fed? For the record, it’s not that the Fed is a perfect system; it seems that this is more of a “pick your poison” kind of debate.

  8. Blackadder says:

    Do you have any references to Caplan’s critique of the Fed?

    I don’t. On the other hand, Prof. Caplan is an anarchist, so it’s hard to see how he could think there should be a Federal Reserve.

  9. American Knight says:

    Austrian economic theory is more-or-less sound, but it fails when it accounts for morality because it makes the same mistake most economists make. It assumes economics is a science devoid of theology. Physics is a science that can be observed, to a point, without reference to God because He created the laws that govern the universe and all the creatures obey His laws save for men and demons.

    Since economics is a study of human action, that pesky free will thingy renders it unobservable, from a moral perspective, without reference to His ordained morality.

    Taken from that perspective and not getting into another debate (primarily because I don’t have time) about Austrian economics, we can look at the moral position as regards the Fed.

    The easiest reference is Chapter 21 of the Gospel according to Matthew, who as a publican would know a thing or two about money.

    The Fed is a private, secretive banking cartel that allows the ubercapitalists to control the entire economy. A central bank is one of the planks of Communism according to Karl Marx. The Fed devalues the dollar, effectively robbing the people of their wealth and makes massive profits without the production of anything of value. It is in violation of the seventh commandment.

    Without going too deep into the sinister workings of the Fed, it is obvious from the perspective of Catholic morality that this institution is evil. Furthermore, if we are to judge the Fed by its fruits – they are all rotten, it is a cursed fig tree. If we are to judge it by the accomplishment of its stated mission, it has failed miserably.

    Politicians will always wreak havoc on the people, so long as they have easy access to money. If the Fed is killed, then the politicians may actually have to exercise some prudence when it comes to fiscal matters, which will lead to an increased likelihood of prudence in other matters.

    Why anyone would want a veil of secrecy allowing control of the money supply to a monopoly is beyond me. Neither conservatives, nor liberals should want this. Demoncrats, Republicants and any other party affiliation except for socialists and communists shouldn’t want this either. Certainly, I cannot see how any authentic Catholic would be in favor of a monopoly banking cartel.

    Bring it on you Fed-lovers; however, I am pressed for time and am not likely to be able to respond to much, if at all. Somehow, I don’t think this will be the last article that allows for a discussion about this evil, usurious monstrosity.

  10. Art Deco says:

    Austrian economic theory is more-or-less sound,

    It is an eccentric thread within contemporary macroeconomics, the most prominent of whom might be Steven Horwitz of St. Lawrence. Economists whose normative judgments on contemporary political economy run the gamut from right to left refuse to subscribe to its description of economic life.

    The Fed is a private, secretive banking cartel that allows the ubercapitalists to control the entire economy.

    The Federal Reserve is a central banking authority. It publishes the minutes of its formal meetings within weeks of their occurance. It does not ‘control the economy’, merely the discount rate it charges member banks and the size of the monetary base. It certainly influences the tempo of economic growth over the course of a given business cycle, the degree of price stability, and (through its regulatory authority) some of the standards and practices of banking and financial intermediation. There are alternatives to discretionary central banking as a means of implementing monetary policy. As the United States learned in 1929-33 and Argentina learned in 1999-2002, they have their drawbacks.

  11. Joe Hargrave says:


    I’m only sympathetic to Austrian views. I’m also sympathetic to Marx. I think everyone gets something right, and I absolutely despise with all of my being the conceited efforts of some in academia and the political establishment to systematically exclude different perspectives from the ongoing discussion and debate.

    I don’t think the Austrian argument against the Fed is “bizarre” at all. The book made a lot of sense to me, while the answers that the fed chairmen give to Ron Paul’s legitimate questions sound utterly dishonest and confused.

    I’m sure the Austrians are wrong about plenty, but I think on this particular point – and in their views on why we ought to have a freer market – they sound pretty right on to me.

    I took a brief look at your link, and this strikes me so far – why he considers Mises and Rothbard and not Hayek:

    ” The primary justification for this is simply that Mises and Rothbard clearly rejected many of the key elements of modern neoclassical economics, while Hayek did not. If Mises and Rothbard are right, then modern neoclassical economics is wrong; but if Hayek is right, then mainstream economics merely needs to adjust its focus.”

    I can say that so far, I’ve found Hayek more agreeable than Mises or Rothbard in a number of ways. And as for Ropke, he is claimed by the Austrian school and I certainly see the influence, but perhaps he is not a “full” Austrian. I don’t know.

  12. American Knight says:


    The Federal Reserve has the authority (illegal abdicated by Congress in violation of Article V) to be the central bank, but it is not a government agency, it is a privately owned bank and the records of ownership are not public. This is corporatism par excellence. It is a violation of subsidiarity and the law.

    The minutes of the board headed by the chairman are published; however, the direction of this monopoly is conducted at the New York ‘branch’ and are never published. The so-called board of governors and the chairman of that same are designed to obfuscate the true workings of this evil institution. Have you ever read the transcripts or hear the testimony in Congress – it is nothing by bovine scatology.

    It has complete control of the economy, the government and is now global. This is by design. “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes her laws.” — Mayer Amschel Rothschild

    The Great Depression was in large part instigated and prolonged by the Fed. Why was 1921-22, such a shorter depression? How did the Republic function for over a century without such a monopoly. We eliminated the Bank of North America, the First and Second Bank of the United States and every time the monopoly bank was removed we recovered from the chicanery rather quickly. Why have we let this monopoly exist for nearly a century?

    Invisible shackles are the most difficult to break because our senses cannot detect them. This should be fairly easy for Catholics to recognize since Christ came to free the captives and most Jews had no idea that they were captives. Are we denying that invisible things are more dangerous that obvious material things? That seems like an odd view on a blog with the word Catholic (meant in an orthodox and authentic manner)in the title.

  13. Art Deco says:

    There is not one single decision about hiring or the allocation of any other factor of production which is made by the Federal Reserve. With regard to macroeconomic policy, decisions about the quantum and direction of public expenditure and public sector borrowing are not made by the Federal Reserve. Their beat is monetary policy and financial regulation. The latter function they share with six other federal agencies (not to mention the banking and insurance commissioners of the state governments). With regard to monetary policy, they can control the discount rate and the monetary base. The supply of the various grades of money (M1, M2, M3, L) is influenced not only by the size of the monetary base by by a range of other factors outside their control.

    The individual Federal Reserve banks (there are 12, and most have offsite branches) are a co-operative of a selection of the member banks. The Board of Governers and its secretariat are employees of the United States Government and the Board of Governers forms a majority of the Federal Open Market Committee, which makes decisions on whether to expand or contract the balance sheets of the Federal Reserve Banks.

    The Great Depression was not ‘instigated’ by the Federal Reserve. You can fault the Fed for responding inappropriately to particular stimuli, and important scholarly work of Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz did so. One implication of that work is that a gold standard or currency board is an inadvisable method of monetary regulation.

  14. j. christian says:


    I should clarify: It’s not mere criticism of the Fed that I think is “bizarre,” it’s this hyperbolic “The Fed is the Spawn of Satan” talk that is really strange. The rhetoric doesn’t match the policy at stake; imagine if someone were to say that the sales tax is the source of everything that is evil and immoral, and what we really need is the VAT. That’s kind of how I feel about some of these “sound money” debates. I don’t think the participants fully understand the policy alternatives and potential outcomes. (As Art Deco points out, one need only look to recent economic history in Argentina to see how a hard currency peg can lead to disaster.)

    A true picture of the issue would show that there are advantages and disadvantages to different banking systems and monetary policy control. If the Fed seems secretive and shadowy to some, just imagine what the alternatives could look like! (And no, that does not include the unrealistic vision of a commodity-convertible dollar that is free of any and all political influence and fluctuations in supply and demand… Sorry, that one’s up there with “true communism hasn’t been tried.”)

  15. American Knight says:

    Currency is the lifeblood of the economy. It involves every single exchange of material goods. Just as a blood-borne disease kills the whole body, control of the money supply gives power over everything to the one who controls it. In our case, that is the Fed, more properly, the greedy men who own the beast.

    If you read the words of the architects of the Fed, long after it was fait accompli, they admit that the Fed is controlled in New York City and the other districts were merely designed to give credence to the lie that it has a federal structure. The BOG is merely the public face of this menace, they don’t run it.

    The so-called ‘roaring 20s’, like their 90s counterpart, were the result of easy money fabricated by the Fed, the sudden contraction caused the depression – so, yes, it was instigated by the Fed and prolonged by the progressive (regressive) policies of the Hoover/Roosevelt administration.

    You can massage this anyway you want. The truth is that this thing has too much power and we all know what happens to consolidated power in the hands of fallen human beings. The Fed is a tool of the Devil – to think otherwise is to be a sophisticated moron – you may as well be denying the existence of Satan.

    You can dismiss this as kooky, I am used to it. After all, I am often dismissed as kooky simply because I believe exactly what is taught by Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium. Often by people who identify as Catholic – imagine that!

    Do you feel strange, bizarre or hyperbolic when you talk to your Guardian Angel. Moderns think you’re nuts.

    What is strange is this weird desire to have other men gain so much power over you and your wealth. How are you supposed to be a good steward of what God has given you if you cede that power to men who are cooperating with their own sins? Many of them, intentionally cooperating with the Devil and his minions. next you’ll tell me that St. Michael didn’t actually evict Lucifer from Heaven.

    Our economy and our government are slaves of the Fed’s owners, by proxy we are also their slaves. I choose to be a slave only of the One Who made me and His mother. What’s your choice? How’s that for kooky?

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